Seldom do I know where a story will take me when I first decide to conduct an interview with someone here on texansunited.com. The roads that meander through our lives seldom come in neat, straight rows, and therein lies the fun in what I do. Every single day at United is an adventure because I absolutely never know where my daily roads will take me.
That wasn’t exactly the case this past week, however, when I left home at the inhuman hour (for me!) of about 7:30 a.m., heading toward Halfway Ranch and owners Rick and Sharon Hutson. I wasn’t sure just what all I would find there, but I knew that at the bottom of it all was going to be a love story. There was not one doubt in my mind about that because it is obvious that a love story is what Rick and Sharon share. It’s what they have, and what they are…anyone can easily see that.
Obviously, I feel as if I’ve always known Sharon. She grew up in Comanche County as one of Vickie Gore Harvick’s best friends, and my grandfather considered her dad and his brothers some of his closest friends…the Craig boys…Billy, Charlie, Louis, and Lonnie, all from Hasse, Texas.
In fact, Sharon has a treasure, at least I consider it so, because when she was born, my grandfather, “Buck” Davis, bought her a gift. It may not have seemed like the type of gift that one would buy for a brand new baby girl, but anyone who knew Granddad would not be surprised at all to know that his idea of the perfect gift for anyone was a bank…a place to save and let money accumulate.
All of these things were running through my mind when I arrived, to find Rick and Sharon waiting to open the gate for me. The three of us started our morning by jumping into the Hutson’s four-wheeler and heading off across the place, 300 or so acres of which the duo are understandably very, very proud.
We saw hay fields, mountain vistas, and oak trees while we visited about children, grandchildren, and horses. I saw the ranch through the eyes of those who love it, and I came to love it right along with them.
We also visited the place where they love to entertain their guests.
And we walked through the couple’s home, where every single room is filled with memories of days gone by.
And then it was time. I knew that I still did not have my story, and yet I wasn’t exactly sure just what that story was until Sharon casually dropped the bombshell.
“We met online.”
And there standing right in front of me was the story, and I knew before my fingers ever touched a key that it was a good one! In fact, the story of Rick and Sharon Hutson is just one more example of how God can take a broken road, roll it around in His hands, and throw it up into the sky as a beautiful rainbow.
Sharon grew up as Sharon Craig. She graduated from Comanche High School and married Don Kemmitz from CHS class of 1964, and she thought her forever after was set, and it was…for 30 years, and then Don died.
“And I never, never dreamed that I would ever be married again. That’s where I was in life.”
After Sharon lost Don, she developed a friendship with a woman who was also widowed, a much younger woman who was interested in dating and thought Sharon should be as well. She would receive mail from dating services that she would bring to Sharon.
“And I’d throw it in the trash as soon as she would leave!”
AND THEN IT HAPPENED…
“My daughter was sixteen, and we had just built a new house in Copperas Cove. This was in the 90s, and you know how new the Internet was at that time. Anyway, I was working on arranging the house one night, and my daughter had her computer open on the desk. Every now and then, I’d stop what I was doing to play on it. I didn’t know one thing about it, but I was learning.
“Suddenly my daughter’s cat jumped on the keyboard, and I have no idea how it happened or what the cat hit, but there on the screen was an online dating service called My One and Only!
“I stared at it for a while, and then I decided that I would show my friend that I could be as progressive as anyone. So, I sat there and posted my bio. Later another friend posted a photo of me.”
At this point, I turned to Rick. “So you’re scrolling through the women who are posted on this site, and you find Sharon. Why her?”
“I liked what I saw, her photo and her bio so I emailed her and told her where I lived (Lone Oak) and where I worked. I told her some things about me and that I had a brother with CP, just those kinds of things. “
“And that rang a bell with me,” his wife said, turning to me. “I have a dear cousin with CP, and something about that just clicked with me.”
From this initial email came more and more emails over the course of the next two weeks. Finally, Sharon agreed to give Rick her phone number, and the couple began to talk via telephone. BUT…she was also smart and still making sure that everything was on the up and up.
When Rick asked her out for a candlelight dinner, she refused, agreeing to lunch instead. When he asked where he could pick her up, she refused, agreeing to meet him at the restaurant instead.
Finally, the day that the two were to meet in person arrived, and Rick, being a man, went off to check on a horse, a roping horse to be exact.
“I ended up on the ground, dirty and with my top button broken. I just threw my saddle and my dog into the back of my truck and headed to the restaurant. I think I was even a little late. When I walked in, we knew each other immediately. We talked, and we talked, and we talked. In fact, we stayed so long that the waiter literally swept the floor under us as we talked.”
Finally, at 2:30, the couple parted company, but they were on the phone again that night, talking so long as to run up a forty dollar phone bill even with night rates. Believe it or not, two months and something like 19 days later, Rick and Sharon were married in Comanche County in the living room of that long ago best friend, Vickie Gore Harvick!
Of course, everyone thought they were crazy, but fifteen years later here they are. Loving life and still loving each other.
“There are people who think we are crazy because we live where we do and do what we do, but we love it. We work together, we play together, and we do what we want to do. When you can be ‘retired’ and still work your bottom off and be happy, life is good.”
And in the end, isn’t that what we all want to say at the end of the day?
“Life is good.”